Let's face it; the things we are reading about in the news makes the world seem so unkind. While we acknowledge there is a time and place for such reporting but, recent studies show good news is more important to our mental health.
Is Constantly Reading the News Bad for You?, an article published in Time Magazine, states, "More than half of Americans say the news causes them stress, and many report feeling anxiety, fatigue or sleep loss..." The article goes on to say news reporting has undergone significant changes in the past 15-20 years, and these changes have been detrimental to mental health.
Good News. The team at 21 Day Kindness Challenge has come up with a plan to help spread the news about the good things happening in the world!
Our Plan to Help Make a Change. Every weekday, we will post on our social media channels (and sometimes our blog) the following:
Change Your View. Keep up with it all, and we promise you will see a lot more kindness happening in the world around you.
Tell Us. We'd love it if you can share your thoughts and pictures with us!
Until next time... be thoughtful, be present, be kind.
Have you ever received a "thinking of you" letter or a card in the mail? Or how about a birthday card from someone you haven't seen in a long time? Doesn't it feel so good to know others are thinking about you? Well, we suggest you do something similar for your incoming students.
We know that this may sound like an overwhelming task (especially for middle school and high school teachers), but we promise it will be something your students and families will always remember. And it WILL start your year off on a kinder note.
Also, we recommend you send a handwritten card that you put in the mailbox NOT just send an email. Families get so many emails these days that your act of kindness might get lost. :)
What are you waiting for, make a plan, and turn that plan into action!
Set yourself up for success and grab these items:
- Ask for a list of your student's, parent's names, and their addresses
- Blank lined paper or blank note cards
- Your favorite pen or two
Now start your kindness letter writing!
Are you not sure how to start? Keep it informal and let your students and their families know that you are excited to meet them! You can also tell them about your summer. You can write to them about how you are focusing on kindness this year and some activities that you might be doing. Be sure to ask questions and invite them to write you back.
You can make your letter writing more fun by doing one (or all) of the following:
1. Put on your favorite movie. What could be more fun than writing kindness letters while watching your favorite movie?!? Make sure it's one you've seen before so you won't get distracted.
2. Invite others to join you. Make this the first annual welcome to school kindness letter-writing party. Invite other teachers to join you, bring music snacks and drinks! Host it at your house, a park, in your classroom, or your school library.
3. Light a candle and be mindful. Practice being mindful when you write your kindness letters. In some meditation practices known as candle meditation or Trataka, you light a candle during your meditation to help you be more present and still. You can try this and think about the "light" (kindness, joy, peace, happiness) you want to bring to your student's lives this year.
4. Be one with nature. Take your supplies and head out to a local park or your favorite hiking spot. Getting outside and breathing in all the outside beauty will inspire you when writing your kindness letters.
We would LOVE to hear how your letter writing went and how your families received them! We hope you make welcome kindness letters part of your annual planning and preparing for the future school years.
Remember, change starts with you. In the words of Gundi, "Be the change you want to see in the world."
Until next time... be thoughtful, be present, be kind.
Mind mapping your goals and expectations for the new school year.
We are all familiar with the mind mapping concept, and we'd be willing to bet you've used the tool with your students from time to time. But, have you thought about using mind mapping to help you visualize your perfect classroom setting?
Glennis Edge Cunningham from the University of Texas in Austin conducted a study in 2005 to see if mind mapping would have any effect on student achievement in high school. Cunningham discovered that 80% of the students reported that mind mapping helped them understand difficult concepts easier, especially in biology.
Mind mapping can be a powerful tool for principals and teachers too! Here is how you can start using mind mapping to help you have the best school year ever:
Step 1: Start with making a big-picture list of the fundamental things you want to achieve in your classroom or on your campus.
- Classroom Behavior Management
- Social and Emotional Wellbeing
- Academic Achievement
- Parent Involvement
- Classroom Habits
- Community Extensions
Step 2: Draw out your mind map.
Take out a plain sheet of paper (or download this template) and draw a circle in the center, then write goals for 2019-20 school year in the center. Draw lines out from the center of the circle and write your big-picture topics. Next to these lines, write out the precise points you want to concentrate on for this year.
Step 3: Write a short mission statement for each subheading.
Writing out a mission statement for each subheading will help you keep your focus on what really matters to you. You can download this template to help you get started. An example mission statement for the subheading of parents is:
"I will strive to be a positive role model for my students by exhibiting kind, positive, and open communications with parents. I will seek out assistance from parents as they are partners in this educational journey."
Step 4: Go deeper into the planning process.
If you have the time and would like to dive a bit further in the details, go for it! Let's take a look at our classroom behaviors subheading; our big-picture is classroom behaviors. Our subheadings are kindness, gratitude, respect, and leadership skills.
Now ask yourself, how and when am I going to teach my students these subheadings. Let's take kindness; how about writing a kindness note to each student during the 1st week of school? Or how about creating a kindness wall in your classroom? Make sure you have specific activities and timelines for achieving your goals.
Step 5: Laminate it.
Laminate your mind map and keep it in a place where you can review it often. A suggested spot is in your academic planner. Take a peek at it when you are planning out your weekly activities or if you have a tough day. Viewing your mind map daily or weekly will help you to stay focused on what is important.
Let us know how it goes! Share a picture of your mind map with us on our social media channels or leave a comment on our blog.
Congratulations to the winners of our November Kindness Challenge Give-A-Way! @FairviewElement, and the students, staff, and teachers at Fairview Elementary School in Richmond, IN. We are excited to have you bring the 21 Day Kindness Challenge: School Edition to your campus. Also, a BIG thank you to all of you who participated in November's Kindness Give-A-Way! Thank you for continually supporting and encouraging our efforts to empower youth to change their world through kindness.
Pushing Pause on Our Kindness Give-A-Way Prize!
Considering December and January are extremely busy for everyone, our team has decided to push pause on our monthly give-a-way prizes. We will resume our awards on February 1, 2019. That said, we are still going to continue our daily social media posts and challenges you to keep spread kindness at your school and in your local community.
Sneak-Peek Into Your Kindness Week!
Start your week off by connecting to your crafty side and end the week by giving love to your school library! Below you will find a daily list of kind things to do, and I list of positive words for you to use when creating your kindness rock.
Are you stuffed to the brim with turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie? We hope you are enjoying your much needed holiday break. And we hope you were able to show your gratitude to your family, friends, and community. We'd love to hear about some of the things you did, post some of your gratitude activities to our blog or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram - use #iChoose2BeKind!
Perhaps you are taking advantage of your time off and you are doing some recruiting to help your school win the 21 Day Kindness Challenge November prize?!? :) There isn't much time left but, nothing is impossible - it can happen!
Below you will find activities for the upcoming Kindness Give-A-Way Challenge week of 11.26 - 11.30. You will start the week off with creating kindness cutie catchers/paper kindness fortune tellers and complete the week by donating shoes to a wonderful organization called soles4soles.com.
Instructions for Monday's Kindness Activity:
For creating your kindness cutie catcher/fortune teller, you can either follow the directions on the Vintage Toy Blog, download a template, or make your own! This activity is super easy, fun, and interactive. Your students will really have fun sharing kindness.
Ideas on what to write inside:
How-To Image from Vintage Toy Blog
Find Out More About Our Programs
Sneak-Peek Into Your Kindness Week 11.19
Oh my goodness! Thanksgiving is already next week. We know that some schools take the entire week off while others just take a few days off. And because of this, we've put together a week full of delicious fun and simple kind acts that you can do at school, with your family, or in your community. Be sure to still tag your school and use the #iChoose2BeKind hashtag to earn your kindness points.
Below you will find our kindness challenge activities for you and your school community to complete for the week of 11.19-11.23. Have fun spreading kindness!
Find Out More About Our Programs
10 Extra Special Ways to Encourage Your Students to Show Their Gratitude Over the Thanksgiving Holiday
How can we start each day with a grateful heart? How do we teach our students, children, and ourselves to be grateful for what we have? Having an attitude of gratitude shifts our focus from what we lack in life to appreciating what we presently have in our lives.
Make showing gratitude extra special, by offering extra credit points for doing one or more of the following over the Thanksgiving break (for credit, ask them to take a picture of themselves doing "the act" and ask them to email it to you before returning to school).
As you may know, tomorrow is World Kindness Day. We've put together a few resources and activities to help you spread kindness.
A Simple Way to Generate Kindness
For easy quick ideas, you can refer to our guest blog post by Shari's Berries, Random Acts of Kindness Generator. This is a fun and easy tool that will give you ideas for any situation.
10 Simple Acts of Kindness You Can Do Tomorrow
Three Kindness Projects that Will Inspire Your Entire School
It is such a big month for appreciation and gratitude! Dominica kicks the month off with Community Service Day. The United States honors its Veterans on November 11 and follows that up with a Thanksgiving celebration. On November 13, 2018, the world celebrates World Kindness Day followed by Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. That is just the tip of the iceberg.
What does all this kindness and gratitude inspire you to do? Well, spread more kindness of course! Don't hold anything back this month, go for the gold! Look beyond the obvious and really see situations and the people around you. Listen with your eyes and hear with your heart. Everyone deserves a little kindness. Be Intentional! Be a Warrior! Be Kind!
Below you will find your Kindness Give-A-Way challenge assignments for the week of November 12- 16. Have fun, play along, tell us about it and good luck!
Can you believe it is November already?!? We are so excited about starting a new Kindness Give-A-Way this month! Our October Kindness Give-A-Way was so amazing! We are pumped about spreading more kindness via social media for the month of November.
As you may know, November 1 is the start of a NEW Kindness Give-A-Away. Find out more details about our November Kindness prize. We hope you, your students, your school community, and your larger community join us in spreading kindness this month. You can follow our Kindness Give-A-Way using our hashtag #iChoose2BeKind.
Below you will find an info-graph for this week's upcoming kindness challenges. Let us know if you have any questions. We are grateful for ALL of your continual support and encouragement.
Kindness on Campus
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Note From the Founder
Hello. I am the founder of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge Program.